Candace Ganger
August 18, 2015 11:34 am

I’ve always had cats and the majority of them have, for whatever reason, been of the ‘challenging’ variety. Having previously worked for the Humane Society and a veterinarian for years, it was nearly impossible to say no to one of those faces in need, no matter what the temperament. And as it goes, some of those rescued may have been a little more than I bargained for. Looking back, I clearly see all the ways having a difficult cat totally prepped me for adulthood.

Even small cats have big voices when they want something.

Cats are notorious meowers when they want something and usually, they want it NOW. Being quiet in nature, my voice is something I’ve never really used to state an opinion. In fact, I’ve turned to [silent] writing to do it for me! When one of my cats starts making demands, I’ve learned to listen, give them what they are asking for, and try to utilize this tactic in my own life. As in, I really want a Milky Way latte so I will scream for it until it appears in my hand, starting…right meow. Cats prove this is a sensational way to get what you want.

Accidents happen.

I used to freak over things like spilled coffee (and sometimes still do). But having a cat with a reeeaalllyyy sensitive stomach taught me how to chill out. The messes can be cleaned but learning how to handle that silly stress is a necessity in getting through life. If I cried over every cup of coffee spilled, I’d waste a lot of my time on the bathroom floor. Instead, I’d rather take a cue from my picky sixteen-year-old cat and never leave the room without wipes. You know. Just in case. Clean it and move on. There are tons of life situations this applies to. Bonus.

Alone time is a must.

You know how some cats really just want to be left alone? Turns out, some people are that way too! If you find yourself in a relationship with someone who likes their space, having a cat is the perfect way to practice not texting, calling, messaging, or petting all the time. This is sometimes a hard lesson and I’ve often failed at the petting part when my cat looks cute but totally means business. Learning restraint and self-control are just two benefits of having a difficult cat that are also beneficial with people. Use at your own discretion.

Cats teach you how to deal with demanding personalities of the feline and human nature.

Sure, it can sometimes be a pain to wake up to paws tapping your cheeks at 4 am because the water bowl isn’t fresh or the food is down to only halfway, but there IS a silver lining. When you have a feisty cat, you quickly learn how to meet their needs so you can get back to what you were doing (like sleeping). This can sometimes be an exhaustive list of vet and grooming visits, specialty food for sensitive stomachs, catnip plants to keep them out of your stuff, etc. But regardless, learning how to appease certain personalities is a sweet tool to have in your arsenal when dealing with demanding humans, too. You cat is awaiting a ‘thank you’ now.

If you don’t like something, a peaceful protest is in order.

Many times I’ve purchased cat food to the dismay of my picky felines. They will literally just stand there and stare at it, look up at me, then back to the food they will not eat. Point taken. And while they don’t mean to make an example out of my grocery trips, I completely see how important it is to stand your ground on things that are important to you. Thanks for showing me this, picky kitties! Without you, I’d forever return with these expensive bags of food you won’t eat.

Fight and move on.

When you add a new cat into a single cat home, a hazing ritual is nearly impossible to avoid just as it is in life when starting school or a new job. The thing about cats, though, is that while they may seem to despise each other at first, they’ll get over it. When you’re an adult, it’s important to remember if you’re having an argument with someone, make up and move on. Life’s too short for grudges or cat fights. Tee-hee.

When all else fails, get distracted

If given the chance, cats have this awesome ability to deflect any aggression or hostility onto something as random as a milk ring. When being an adult seems like a mountain too high to climb, do what cats do and find something – anything – that brings you immediate joy. Forget the rest. If cats can forget the world for a few, you can, too.

(Image via iStock)

Related:

10 things cats do without realizing they’re being adorable

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